Jan-Jan Van Essche
Jan-Jan Van Essche was born in Antwerp, Belgium, where his design studio is currently located. The human collective culture remains an endless inspiration for Jan-Jan to create new garments, each new design a genuine attempt to open up new perspectives and to push conflicting dialogues forward. His pieces are layered with subtlety, integrated into modern-day city life and personal wardrobes, slowly and carefully playing their humble role in finding connection and acceptance.
A 2003 graduate of the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Jan-Jan is an alumnus along with many famous designers like Dries Van Noten. Jan-Jan launched his eponymous label as an ‘annual wardrobe’ in 2010. His first collection titled “Yukkuri,” which is Japanese for ‘take it easy’ or ‘slowly’, established the conceptual approach he follows when creating contemporary wardrobes. Jan-Jan creates a single collection each year, rather than producing collections for each season primarily because he doesn’t want his work to be dictated by the fashion industry.
Jan-Jan’s work remains simplistic because he believes clothing should be freeing. This is why every garment is created with effortless silhouettes and constructed in a way to minimize the number of seams needed. He creates his collections to provide the body the luxury and freedom to shape the garment. Unlike classic Western approaches to confine and shape the body, Jan-Jan meticulously studies and reinterprets traditional patterns from different ethnocultural origins that depend on the wearer’s body to define how they look. The conventional silhouette is amplified and each individual garment literally leaves room for interpretation, engendering openness.
Jan-Jan’s sincere and discrete designs are executed in carefully sourced, refined quality fabrics of natural fibres.The colors remain in a muted palette, with some fabrics even undyed, and black with its endless shades is always present to rigorously accentuate the silhouettes.